|Born||January 18, 1958|
|Residence||Burlingame, California, USA|
|Known for||Transgender surgery|
Marci Lee Bowers (born January 18, 1958) is an American gynecologist who operated a surgical practice in Trinidad, Colorado. She moved her practice to San Mateo, California, in December 2010. Bowers is viewed as an innovator in the field of transgender surgery, as well as a pioneer, being the first trans woman to be performing the surgery. Bowers has been referred to as the "Rock Star" of transgender surgery.
Bowers graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1986, where she was president of both her class, and the entire student body. Bowers later went on to study under the late Dr. Stanley Biber, a surgeon who performed over 4,000 transgender surgeries and who is credited for giving Trinidad the title "Sex Change Capital of the World."
Before moving to Trinidad, Bowers had a successful practice at the PolyClinic in Seattle, and has delivered over 2000 babies. She has served as Obstetrics and Gynecology Department Chairperson at Swedish (Providence) Medical Center, and was named the only physician member of the Washington State midwifery Board. She was also named as one of "America's Best Physicians" for the 2002 to 2003 awards, and is a member-elect of the European Academy of Sciences.
When Biber retired in 2003 at the age of 80, Bowers took over his practice, and since then, has done over 300 sexual reassignment surgeries, performing about five operations per week at Mt. San Rafael hospital. Bowers says her surgeries bring an estimated $1.6 million (USD) per year to the hospital; she performs an average of 130 surgeries per year  and charges $21,500 (USD) per MTF genital reassignment surgery, a substantial portion of which covers hospital costs. This surgery is only one of several medical interventions that can be part of gender transition.
Bowers relocated from Trinidad, Colorado in December 2010, and currently performs sex reassignment surgery in San Mateo, California. However, her administrative contact information is still based in Colorado.
Bowers is often asked about sex reassignment surgery on persons under the age of 18. She has been critical of prohibitions against this in the WPATH Standards of Care. She has stated, "I believe the surgery should be responsibly performed for the proper, carefully screened candidates, not at age 18, but at age 16 or 17, while still under the caring environment of home, allowing some social transition still in high school. It is the only morally responsible approach to this problem. We have already made that change in our standards here, and I will live to see that change be made globally as well."
Bowers also puts her expertise in vaginoplasty at the disposal of victims of female genital mutilation, whom she does not charge for surgery. She was trained for this specific operation under Pierre Foldès and has performed 50 reversals of FGM so far.
Bowers has been a guest on the American talk shows The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Tyra Banks Show, and was the subject of a six-part BBC documentary series first shown on British television Channel 4. The documentary was titled "Sex Change Hospital" and featured her performing genital reassigments, as well as covering the back stories of the patients. The series was also shown on Channels 4's spin off channel, E4. Bowers has also been interviewed for a variety of magazines.
Bowers was featured in the 2008 documentary, Trinidad, which focused on transsexuals who flock to Trinidad, Colorado to have gender reassignment surgery. The independent film has appeared on the Showtime movie network. Trinidad was directed by PJ Raval and Jay Hodges.
Not all of Trinidad's residents are happy with the town's title of "Sex Change Capital"; Terry Keith, a pastor for the All Nations Fellowship church, commented: "Our reputation as sex-change capital of the world has brought shame and reproach on the community", in an interview with the Pueblo Chieftain in 2005. That same year, two pastors petitioned to have the clinic shut down, citing a study done by Johns Hopkins University that they claimed proved surgery was not successful in treating gender identity issues. The petition was rejected.
Bowers countered that the church misrepresented the study data, explaining, "If you look at the actual study itself, the satisfaction rates and happiness rates after [surgeries] were overwhelmingly positive, their interpretation of the study was that the respondents—the patients themselves—couldn’t possibly be accurate about what they were feeling, because they were crazy in the first place. There’s been nothing like it since—and it’s very important to point out that it’s from 1972."
Bowers was named Mark at birth, and first attempted the transition from man to woman at the age of 19, but was unsuccessful due to a lack of family support and funds. Twenty years later, she successfully completed the procedure. Bowers married eleven years prior to her surgery, and remains married to her female spouse. They have three children, and while they no longer have a conventional marital relationship, Bowers says they are "closer than sisters." During her spare time, Bowers likes to play golf, read, cook and travel to Seattle to visit her children. She was also shown on a Discovery Health Channel one-hour LGBT-themed special about two transsexual women transitioning and their stories, "Switching Sexes: The Aftermath".
Transitioning is like walking on lily pads: You have to be careful with each step, or you're going to sink. It takes a lot of money, courage and a certain amount of planning, I'm just glad I can help.—Marci Bowers
- Jacob Anderson-Minshall (2006). "Trans Surgeon Keeps Small Town On Map". San Francisco Bay Times. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- L.A. Johnson (October 4, 2006). "Transgender woman followed long road to feel at home with herself". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- The Seattle Times (April 11, 2006). "Few private policies cover sex changes". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- Faye Flam (May 3, 2006). "Transsexual describes female-to-male transformation". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- Colorado State University (2005). "Trinidad Gender Reassignment Surgeon to speak at Colorado State University-Pueblo". Colorado State University. Retrieved October 12, 2007.[dead link]
- Marc Gunther (November 30, 2006). "How Corporate America fell in love with gays and lesbians. It's a movement". CNN Money. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- Margalit Fox (January 21, 2006). "Obituaries: Stanley H. Biber, 82, Surgeon Among First to Do Sex Changes". The New York Times. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- Douglas Brown (July 1, 2007). "Trinidad's transgender rock star". The Denver Post. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- California Dreamin Organization (April 15, 2007). "Dr. Marci Bowers". California Dreamin Organization. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- Laura-Claire Corson (2007). "Country's most popular gender-reassignment surgeon has been through it". The Associated Press / The Times. Retrieved October 18, 2007.
- Associated Press/CBS (January 18, 2006). "Sex Change Doctor Dead At 82". CBS News. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- Deborah Frazier (2006). "Sex-change pioneer a beloved friend, mentor". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- "Marci Bowers - Information Regarding the Move to San Mateo".
- "Dr. Bowers SRS/GRS Guide: Overview".
- Laura Onstot (2007). "Shoulder Pads, Pom-Poms, and the Angry Inch". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved October 20, 2007.
- Jackson, Chris (June 5, 2008). The “Transational” Dr. Marci Bowers. Lavender Magazine
- Eve Conant (2009). "The Kindest Cut: In Colorado, a surgeon helps restore feeling—and so much more—to victims of female genital mutilation". Newsweek. Retrieved October 27, 2009.
- Giselle Portenier (2014). "Defying Destiny". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
- Harpo Productions, Inc. (2006). "Gender Identity". Harpo Productions, Inc. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- Channel4 (2007). "Sex Change Hospital". Channel4. Retrieved October 12, 2007.
- Alan Prendergast (2004). "The Doctor is Out". Denver Westword News. Retrieved November 8, 2007.
- "LAFF '08 INTERVIEW "Trinidad" Co-Directors Jay Hodges and PJ Raval". IndieWire. 26 June 2008. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- Jacob Anderson-Minshall (2006). "Trans Surgeon Keeps Small Town Top Destination". EXP Magazine. Retrieved 2007-11-08.[dead link]